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An Experiment to Introduce pH-responsive Hydrogels for Controlled Drug Delivery: Mechanical Testing

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

NSF Grantees' Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.167.1 - 23.167.12



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Paper Authors


Stephanie Farrell Rowan University

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Dr. Stephanie Farrell is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Rowan University (USA). She obtained her PhD in Chemical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology in 1996. Prior to joining the faculty at Rowan in 1998, she was an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Louisiana Tech University until 1998. Dr. Farrell has made significant contributions to engineering education through her work in experiential learning, focusing on areas of pharmaceutical, biomedical and food engineering. She has been honored by the American Society of Engineering Education with several teaching awards such as the 2004 National Outstanding Teaching Medal and the 2005 Quinn Award for experiential learning. Stephanie has conducted workshops on a variety of topics including effective teaching, inductive teaching strategies and the use of experiments and demonstrations to enhance learning.

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Jennifer Vernengo Rowan University

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Madina Yermagambetova Al-Farabi KazNU

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Peter John Schwalbenberg

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Proposed Abstract for the NSF Grantees Poster SessionAn Experiment to Introduce pH-responsive Hydrogels for Controlled Drug DeliveryMadina Yermagambetova, Stephanie Farrell and Jennifer VernengoDepartment of Chemical EngineeringRowan UniversityIn an continuing effort to introduce drug delivery-related experiments for the chemicalengineering curriculum, we are developing an experiment to introduce students to pHresponsive hydrogels. These hydrogels have been extensively investigated for controlleddrug delivery. By responding to the pH environment in the body, which changesdepending on location and metabolic state, a pH-sensitive drug dosage form is able tomodulate drug delivery patterns to meet physiologic requirements and minimize sideeffects. This paper describes an experiment used to introduce engineering students in amaterials science class to stimuli-responsive polymers for controlled release applications.Students produce a pH responsive hydrogel using a free-radical solution polymerization.The physical and mechanical properties of the hydrogel such as swelling, density, andtensile strength are tested with and without drug loading, after exposure to different pHenvironments. Finally, the drug release profiles were analyzed in different pHenvironments. At low pH (typical stomach values of 1.2-5.0) the drug did not swell anddrug was released very slowly. At neutral pH (representative of gastric emptying), thegels swelled rapidly and released drug at a controlled rate. Such a system would beuseful for the oral delivery of a drug that would be damaged by the low pH environmentof the stomach, such as insulin. In addition to learning about pH-responsive drugdelivery, students learned concepts of measurements, material properties, design ofexperiments, data analysis, and engineering design. This experiment will beimplemented in the fall 2012 semester, and the paper will present results of the project.

Farrell, S., & Vernengo, J., & Yermagambetova, M., & Schwalbenberg, P. J. (2013, June), An Experiment to Introduce pH-responsive Hydrogels for Controlled Drug Delivery: Mechanical Testing Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19181

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